Tree giveaway enters 23rd year Saturday
While the Washington Tree Committee’s annual tree giveaway is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday in Central Park, president Marde McConnell advises people wanting specific varieties of trees to arrive early.
McConnell said the giveaway will start at 8 a.m. sharp, and she expects the 120 trees being given away to go quickly. She said some people get in line as early as 7 a.m. She said the trees are made up of 20 evergreens and 100 deciduous bare root trees. The committee has been giving trees to the community for 23 years.
“We decided we wanted to do something for everyone in the community,” McConnell said. “We started with a giveaway and our first year’s giveaway was made up of trees we ordered through the Arbor Day Foundation and they were only 18 to 20 inches tall.”
This year the committee is offering 13 varieties of trees. Small tree varieties include the carnival maple, Amur Chokecherry, Golden Candle Goldenrain, Seven-Son Flower and Louisa Crab. Medium-sized varieties are Prairie Horizon Alder and State Street Maple. Large trees offered include Sterling Silver Linden, Arnold Columnar Tulip Tree, and Princeton Elm. Evergreen trees in the giveaway will be White Pine, Concolor Fir and Douglas Fir.
After the giveaway, at 9 a.m., the committee will do a planting at the city’s new wastewater treatment plant. McConnell said that the city had contacted the committee about doing the event. McConnell said that members of the Washington Boy Scout troops will help plant the trees. This is significant, she said, because about 20 years ago, the committee had done a tree planting at the former wastewater plant and the Boy Scouts had helped.
Before planting the trees, people should dial Iowa One Call (1-800-292-8989), which will check to see if there are any underground obstructions. This should be done a minimum of 48 hours prior to the desired time of planting. The committee recommends marking the desired location with a marker of some kind that is at least 15 inches tall. If residents plan to plant a tree in their terrace they must pick up a tree permit from city hall. Not all species of trees may be planted in the terrace.
McConnell said that she has driven around town many times and seen trees that she knows the committee has given to the owner.
The tree giveaway is partly sponsored by Alliant Energy and the Washington Betterment Foundation.